Erasmus University worried about Cabinet plan to restrict English-only classes

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is concerned about Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf’s plans to cut English-speaking classes in higher education institutions. “The plans cause a lot of questions and discomfort for our international students and staff, to whom we attach great importance, and for the international character of our education,” said chairman of the Executive Board, Ed Brinksma.

The minister discussed the plans during Thursday’s parliamentary debate on the internationalization of higher education. MPs are concerned about the large influx of international students. This leads to overcrowded lecture halls and additional pressure on the housing market. In addition, the majority of international students do not stay in the Netherlands to work after graduation.

Therefore, Dijkgraaf wants to limit the influx by requiring universities to teach at least two-thirds of courses in Dutch. The minister wants degree programs that want to teach more in another language to first be assessed for social relevance. He also wants to require foreign students to study Dutch, but this is allowed outside the curriculum.

If implemented, the plans could have significant consequences for the university’s international students and staff, EUR said. “On the contrary, EUR attaches great importance to the international character of its education,” the educational institution said in a response on Friday. “We believe that a truly international classroom brings tremendous value to our students, and that should not be lost. Our international students are an integral part of our community. We will do everything we can to influence the further development of the minister’s plans,” Brinskma announced.

Reporting by ANP

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